As tools like ChatGPT hit the market, HR professionals are seeing in real-time how the world of work is being reshaped by AI.
For Leslie Linsner, CHRO of WorkFusion, that conversation is nothing new: After all, she helms the people function for an organization that provides intelligent automation solutions for Fortune 500 companies. The firm’s AI-enabled “Digital Workers,” for instance, can help automate mundane job responsibilities—freeing up human employees for more gratifying work (boosting engagement and, in turn, retention), all while enhancing productivity, she says.
While some HR professionals may be hesitant to embrace AI’s entrance into the workforce, for technology veteran Linsner—who’s also held HR leadership roles at tech-related firms like Verbit.ai, erwin Inc. and Verint Systems—this brave new world isn’t so new. But it’s certainly at a “pivotal” moment—one that she urges HR leaders to recognize and take advantage of.
Linsner recently shared her outlook on the future of AI in HR, and her journey through the profession, with HRE:
HRE: How is WorkFusion leveraging AI within your own organization?
Linsner: Our AI digital workforce solutions are purpose-built for specific industries, like banking and financial services. For example, we have an AI Digital Worker, Evelyn, that is trained to do a complete job as a sanctions screening and adverse media monitoring analyst at a bank.
We leverage our own AI technology in both marketing and sales. For example, we are using Evelyn, our AI digital worker, to curate feeds for our go-to-market team, keeping them up to date on the latest news and social media postings from customers and prospects. This vital intelligence helps our sales team target their activities more effectively and saves valuable time and resources in the process.
HRE: And what is the impact of this strategy on the employee experience?
Linsner: From a staffing perspective, our solutions enable organizations to augment their teams with AI to increase their capacity and reduce employee burnout. By automating the more mundane, repetitive tasks that tend to be error-prone, for example, humans can uplevel their work to be more strategic.
We believe that in the very near future you will see more and more humans working with AI to get their jobs done. Technology like ChatGPT is spurring this adoption.
AI has the power to greatly improve the employee experience. Employees can offload the mundane work to AI and focus on projects that are more meaningful and of higher value. For example, in banks, if you take the sanctions screening role I mentioned earlier, that job is based on reviewing a high volume of alerts for people or entities that may be on a government sanctions list. All that person is doing is quickly reviewing the alert and noting whether or not it is a false positive, which 99% of the alerts are. This is a super important job for a bank, however, not that gratifying for an employee who may be bored and burnt out and ends up leaving to find a more satisfying job.
I think we are at a pivotal moment in time in terms of how the workplace is changing. Much like how the internet changed how we work, I believe AI will be just as transformative.
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HRE: What role do you see AI playing in the future of recruiting?
Linsner: It sounds so obvious, but the biggest challenge in recruiting is finding people. And, quite simply, there aren’t enough people to fill every role. I think recruiters need to be open to the idea of embracing AI to fill open roles.
Additionally, there is so much human stuff that is required in recruiting. I think AI will play a key role in automating those types of tasks.
Let’s start with the beginning of any employee’s lifecycle: the recruitment process. Automating steps like sourcing candidates, scanning resumes, scheduling interviews—all these processes take many human hours and are ripe for automation. For example, technology that reads our job descriptions and searches publicly available information for passive candidates to feed into our sourcing pipeline speeds our sourcing process and improves candidate quality. Then, once we do decide to hire someone, tedious and repetitive onboarding processes such as document verification, orientation scheduling and providing various IT access/device setup can be automated for a more efficient, organized and even personalized experience.
Speaking of personalization, imagine automation being able to identify specific skill gaps in an individual and creating a targeted training and development plan just for that person rather than a topic-led course offered for a group. Think of how the employee would feel about the organization and their personal interest in just them!
HRE: As more HR organizations look to leverage technology to power their talent strategies, where do you think they’re hitting the most roadblocks? And what’s the way around them?
Linsner: Talent has been a wild ride over the past few years—from the Great Resignation to quiet quitting to now a slew of layoffs. Nonetheless, one big obstacle is that there aren’t enough people to fill every role and it’s even more challenging to find a candidate with the right skill set. Much like our technology is helping banking and financial services companies automate jobs, AI in recruiting can free up recruiters to spend more time with the candidates to ensure they are the right fit and also free up a limited HR staff to focus on improving learning and development and the overall employee experience.
HRE: From your perspective as a woman in technology, what are your thoughts on the state of DE&I in tech today?
Linsner: In a nutshell, we have a long way to go. While we have seen strides made in workplaces with a focus on DE&I, it’s not just about populating our workforce with more diverse or female candidates. It’s about making the business case as to how a focus on these initiatives impacts the bottom line. I believe that’s what will grab the attention of senior executives leading companies today. And then, it’s education and alignment across a leadership team to embrace these initiatives and hold the entire team accountable for achievement.
HRE: Where is there the most room for growth?
Linsner: From my vantage point, it’s hardcore software engineering/machine learning/development.
HRE: Outside of work, what are you most passionate about?
Linsner: I’ve got two teenage girls that I am raising in a very fragile world right now. I need them to be strong and confident and independent. I am passionate about that happening for them! Besides that, I love traveling to places I haven’t seen before, and I relax by watching live music.